A human rights organisation has condemned the intimidation, profiling and attempted recruitment of members of the Muslim community by Special Branch and MI5. Cageprisoners specifically cited the case of Asif Ahmed, who it said was recently detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in Edinburgh airport along with his wife.
Schedule 7 allows police to stop and question travellers at ports and airports “for the purpose of determining whether they are a person who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.” Failure to answer questions is a criminal offence.
The Ahmeds were allegedly questioned in detail and an attempt was made to coerce Mr Ahmed into becoming an informer for Special Branch to spy on the Muslim community.
Cageprisoners also published a report titled The Horn of Africa Inquisition, which detailed how the community from the Horn of Africa and those travelling to the region have allegedly been harassed by MI5 and Special Branch through profiling techniques.
Cageprisoners executive director Asim Qureshi said:
“The last seven years of the war on terror have seen the profiling and criminalisation of the Arab and Pakistani communities by UK authorities around the world. The policies that have been implemented through counter-terrorism legislation and Prevent have only been counter-productive as Muslim communities feel marginalised from British society. It is an unfortunate reality that many Muslims feel besieged at this time and the policies of government have done nothing to temper that.”
See also “British Muslims on safari ‘stopped by MI5′”, Independent, 1 May 2010